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Further big slip keeps southern route to the West Coast closed

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A major slip overnight on State highway 6 between the Gates of Haast Bridge and Haast Pass Summit will see the road closed until at least Monday.

The road has been shut in this area since Wednesday following major storm damage.

Transport Agency West Coast Area Manager Mark Pinner says snow and heavy overnight rain, has bought down almost as much debris again from a 50 metre high slip at Diana Falls that lead to the road being closed on Wednesday. In some ways, we are almost back to square one with our road clearing efforts at this site.

“The forecast isn’t that great for the remainder of the weekend, although we hope a predicted break in the weather this afternoon, will allow our geotechnical engineer to see how much more slip material may have been destabilised. Three large boulders about the size of houses perched above the slip site are a concern and whether the latest heavy rain has affected their stability”.

Mark Pinner says once we get a report from our geotechnical experts, we can plan our approach to getting the road open again as quickly as possible, but the reality is its going to be Monday at the earliest. All other routes to the West Coast Region are open he said.

The latest on information on this slip and other highway conditions can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link), or by phoning 0800 444499. Roadside electronic signs will carry the latest updates on road availability, at Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea.

Meanwhile bad weather, avalanches and slips will keep State highway 94 from the Hollyford turn-off to Milford Sound closed until at least tomorrow. The situation will be reviewed again tomorrow. morning.

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